speech goes on to state that Britain has made the ‘right’ and
‘flexible’ policy response at a pace that matches the speed of social change.
What we can see here is one face of the making of a particular kind of
global restructuring, one that for many commentators is captured by a ‘British
model’ of neo-liberal or hyperliberal capitalism. Yet, how can we make sense
of a ‘national capitalism’ given, for example, the prevalence of German banks
in the City of London, the Japanese multinationals on northern business parks
and the migrant workers providing much of the
the global economy
grew. The high abstractions of complex financial instruments that
evaporated under the noses of their owners across the 2007–8
period – the great crash – emerge from the logic of this third
exchange: stock market capitalism.
Manchester was a key driver of these processes. Described as
the first ‘shock city’, Engels noted – outside the Cotton Exchange
– how the muck and the brass in Manchester are directly related,
but politically riven apart. At that point, Engels could see the
link between the abstract numbers and the labour those numbers
’ – the
name given to this reimagined site – was radically undermined as
the 2008 economic crash unfolded.
As the subprime mortgage market collapsed and financial turmoil ensued, visions for a regenerated Ordsall Riverside ebbed
away. The earlier planning guidance soon became at odds with
what developers were prepared, or financially able, to deliver. The
area, riven by volatile, conflicting time frames of contemporary
capitalism, entered a period of widespread developmental stasis.
However, as landowners, developers and city bureaucrats were
left waiting for change
as part of a wider collective resistance to the
social murder and class robbery of unregulated capitalism. Public
Safe as houses
housing represented both the partial decommodification of shelter
and the protection of residents’ health and safety through a wider
system of building regulation and control. These qualities are
precisely why this public housing model has been targeted for
re-privatisation since the 1970s under neoliberalism and financialised capitalism. The chapter will explain how this neoliberal
This chapter focuses on the importance of the chimney in the history of both
Manchester and the world. It shows how the chimney shaped the topography of
the industrial city and its role in the global transformations generated
through cotton capitalism and later climate change.
This book explores contemporary urban experiences connected to practices of sharing and collaboration. Part of a growing discussion on the cultural meaning and the politics of urban commons, it uses examples from Europe and Latin America to support the view that a world of mutual support and urban solidarity is emerging today in, against, and beyond existing societies of inequality. In such a world, people experience the potentialities of emancipation activated by concrete forms of space commoning. By focusing on concrete collective experiences of urban space appropriation and participatory design experiments this book traces differing, but potentially compatible, trajectories through which common space (or space-as-commons) becomes an important factor in social change. In the everydayness of self-organized neighborhoods, in the struggles for justice in occupied public spaces, in the emergence of “territories in resistance,” and in dissident artistic practices of collaborative creation, collective inventiveness produces fragments of an emancipated society.
As the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire of 14 June 2017 has slowly revealed a shadowy background of outsourcing and deregulation, and a council turning a blind eye to health and safety concerns, many questions need answers. Stuart Hodkinson has those answers. Safe as Houses weaves together Stuart’s research over the last decade with residents’ groups in council regeneration projects across London to provide the first comprehensive account of how Grenfell happened and how it could easily have happened in multiple locations across the country. It draws on examples of unsafe housing either refurbished or built by private companies under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) to show both the terrible human consequences of outsourcing and deregulation and how the PFI has enabled developers, banks and investors to profiteer from highly lucrative, taxpayer-funded contracts. The book also provides shocking testimonies of how councils and other public bodies have continuously sided with their private partners, doing everything in their power to ignore, deflect and even silence those who speak out. The book concludes that the only way to end the era of unsafe regeneration and housing provision is to end the disastrous regime of self-regulation. This means strengthening safety laws, creating new enforcement agencies independent of government and industry, and replacing PFI and similar models of outsourcing with a new model of public housing that treats the provision of shelter as ‘a social service’ democratically accountable to its residents.
Manchester: Something rich and strange challenges us to see the quintessential
post-industrial city in new ways. Bringing together twenty-three diverse writers
and a wide range of photographs of Greater Manchester, it argues that how we see
the city can have a powerful effect on its future – an urgent question given how
quickly the urban core is being transformed. The book uses sixty different words
to speak about the diversity of what we think of as Manchester – whether the
chimneys of its old mills, the cobbles mostly hidden under the tarmac, the
passages between terraces, or the everyday act of washing clothes in a
laundrette. Unashamedly down to earth in its focus, this book makes the case for
a renewed imaginative relationship that recognises and champions the fact that
we’re all active in the making and unmaking of urban spaces.
Manchester mythology posits a city of warm, gritty, authentic and rooted
subjects. It projects an image of itself as tough but ‘homely’. Yet the
speed at which the city tears down and rebuilds presents an opposite view.
Many buildings are entirely destroyed, but the façade – the frontage – is
often left standing. These ‘fronts’ are the second Janus face of Manchester
myth. They are also ‘fronts’ as in the frontiers of revanchism, as
capitalism finds yet another space to cream surplus from – either directly
off or to the detriment of – its citizens. Here is the tragic face, the
counterpart to the garrulous myth of the swaggering, cheeky Mancunian on the
make. Here is the evidence of Manchester as a radical right city.
the brink we are now facing.
Many other texts relating to Manchester, from research on male
isolation, to records by The Smiths and Joy Division, still testify
to the city as a place of social atomisation. The shift to atomic
physics has its parallel in the shift to an atomised social world.
From Manchester capitalism and industrialism, to graphene – a
substance that is stable only in itself; that these processes began in
Manchester before spreading virally, globally, is no coincidence.
John Cockroft’s biography contains a vignette of his brother